Harvard Innovation Keeps Ice Off Leading Edges

 - January 28, 2013, 2:46 PM

A team of Harvard University researchers has devised a product that prevents ice and frost from forming on metal surfaces such as the leading edge of an aircraft wing.

Surfaces treated with the non-toxic, non-corrosive Slips (for slippery liquid infused porous surfaces) become ultra smooth, slippery surfaces to which fluids and solids alike, such as condensation, frost and even ice, will not adhere.

The Slips technology–tested so far on refrigerator fans–has also been proven to work effectively under high-humidity and high-pressure conditions.

The Harvard group, led by Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson and a core group of scientists at the university’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, realized the challenge was to coat metal surfaces with a rough material to which the lubricant [Slips] adheres.

“This new approach to ice-phobic materials is a truly disruptive idea that offers a way to make a transformative impact on energy and safety costs associated with ice,” explained Aizenberg, quoted in a news report published by Harvard. “We are actively working with both the refrigeration and aviation industries to bring it to market.”